From inauspicious beginnings, musical genius evolves. Auckland kiwi Jonathan Bree’s youthful start began at the ripe old age of 9 when he wrote his first song ‘Rebecca’ about a primary school crush. This would quickly ramp up to playing drums with 20-year-olds in an average goth band by age 12. Then, aged 13, and out of fear he was going to start wearing fishnets and piercing his privates, he was sent to live with his Father in Australia who was a spiritual guru graciously starving his followers in order to raise their ‘vibrations’ so they could board the invisible motherships floating above them. By 14, after failing to raise vibrations enough to ascend (and also feeling quite peckish by now), he left home and put himself through high school by selling drugs to local tourists. [spaceagencybooking.com]
Show me how you move, girl,
Back it up”
“I was living in Australia and I was a little wayward. I invested in my songwriting initially by stealing. Breaking into my high school one night to raid the music department, I stole a guitar and bass and whatever other crap I could fit in my backpack. I also remember around that time shoplifting the guitar tab books for the albums Strangeways Here We Come by the Smiths and The Cure’s Disintegration, and the single sheet music for The Church’s “Under the Milky Way.” That’s how I taught myself guitar. The Johnny Marr chords were especially challenging.“AmericanSongwriter.com‘s Interview of Jonathan Bree
Bree’s initial solo release would be 2013s Primrose Path and was only promoted by his uploading an album-length video of him and his girlfriend watching shows on his laptop with his cat. His second album released in 2015, A Little Night Music, he describes as, “Nick Cave meets the Nutcracker Suite“, which is when Bree first introduced his singular concept of a period-piece masked band. (It’s rumored that around this time he also acquired a Time Machine…) Third release Sleepwalking included his breakthrough hit “You’re So Cool” and drew distinct influence from bygone-era orchestral pop (think Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra) dipping in and out of the avant-garde in a distinctly modern way.
“After you settle on what palette really inspires you and begin mining it in greater detail that’s when I suppose you might stumble into a signature sound … create a creative feedback loop.”15questions.net‘s interview of Jonathan Bree
“Self-proclaimed master of misery, Bree (AKA dark-Disney) performs behind masks and leans on pantomime with 1960s nostalgia. Part theater, part dreary pop, it is his cinematic approach that is most alluring. While his first three albums were recorded in his bedroom, Bree says the only difference these days is his bedrooms have gotten ‘nicer’ with age.” Case in point, fourth album After The Curtains Close would later be mastered at world-famous Abbey Road Studios. [Sydney Morning Herald]
“You are my desire tonight, there’s nothing below us,
If he can’t give you all that you need,
I’ll treat you like he won’t do”
Bree further brandishes a number of art-of-dance training videos in his online Danseuse Academy that playfully-promote additional tracks, such as “Fuck It” and “Waiting On The Moment”. All these musical numbers showcase smoldering bandmate Heather Mansfield’s seductively-stylish dance technique over mesmerizing hypnotic carousel-driven music while her near-automaton lyrics sing-song beneath Bree’s sonorously breathy baritone.
“Until we’re done,
(All night, keep moving, all night, we work it)“